Chris Mannix on why LeBron joining Embiid in Philly makes more sense than The King going to Spurs

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Joining Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe on First Things First, Chris Mannix reveals why LeBron James joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on the Philadelphia 76ers makes more sense than The King leaving Cleveland to play for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs.

- --because the Philadelphia 76ers-- you plug LeBron James, as a small forward into that lineup right now, and they are the favorite next season to win a championship, because Ben Simmons is going to improve. Joel Embiid's going to improve. We assume Markelle Fultz will be able to make a shot at some point from beyond--

- Markelle Fultz has looked good.

- He took his first three pointer, and that didn't look good.

- No. His jump shot-- but he's looked like a competent player otherwise. But go ahead, I'm sorry.

- He's got a great ability to probe the paint. Anyway, they keep-- they keep getting better. But more importantly for LeBron, Philadelphia allows you to age gracefully, because in Philadelphia, you could step into that team and be the alpha right away. But as he hits his mid to late 30s, and as those young guys start to improve, you can get Embiid taking over, Ben Simmons taking over. All these guys can become the alphas of that team, while LeBron kind of becomes second, third option, as in his late 30s.

Now my one question would be, how in the hell do you afford that if you're Philadelphia? Those are like-- that's like four potential max contract guys, or close to it, that you have on the roster.

- Oh, you mean, you don't-- when you say afford it, they would-- salary cap-wise, they could sign him next year, because they let Reddick go. They have the space. But you mean eventually--

- Down the line.

- --you're paying a bunch guys $40 million. That's-- it's a good problem. Well, you talk about age gracefully. This is why, when KD's decision was coming up, I was the one person saying, anyone thinking about Minnesota, like, could he go to Minnesota. And the reason was-- and at the time, I thought Wiggins was better than he's ended up being.

But I said, KD gets there. He's instantly the best player. And then in five years, he's the second best player, and Karl Anthony Towns is the best player. And then in seven years, he's the third.

You know what I mean? That is the exact same progression.

- Of course you play for Thibs, and you're playing, like, 38 minutes a game.

- It's a great point. That maybe, for a lot of reasons, KD not going to Minnesota, probably the right decision for him. But I-- I like that idea of it.

And that's the case against-- against Houston. The case is-- the question, if we're talking about Houston versus Philly is, do you trust Embiid's health or Chris Paul's age more? Because Chris Paul, while he's been in the league a year less than LeBron, he's older than LeBron. He's also an undersized point guard. And we know those guys don't typically age too gracefully.

So I've been saying-- CC was the first person I heard on television mention Philly seriously. It got me thinking about it a lot. And so that is now where I think is the best fit for him, even better than Houston because of the aging ungracefully thing.

But the team that I haven't mentioned, that you didn't mention, but was the team that seemed to get this whole thing started a year ago is the Los Angeles Lakers. And that's a team, CC, you've been talking about a lot lately in regards to LeBron.

- Yeah. And also, I think you have to look east and west. I think that when guys make decisions like this, because LeBron has dominated the East, I think that he'll pick a team or two. And I believe that will be Philadelphia and Cleveland, if he decides to stay in the east. If he's decides to go west, I believe at the top of that, Houston and Los Angeles.

And I just believe the overall pull of Los Angeles, Magic Johnson, and the potential of the players that he can bring there, that is real. And I just know, from-- I just know that Houston is interested in LeBron and having his services.